Paul Krugman is one op-ed columnist. Firedog Lake is one Web site. They have readers. But they are not the state of Ohio. Time and again, however, we see evidence that they have gotten deep inside the White House’s head. In letters, in offhand comments, in outbursts at press conferences, in my personal reporting, members of the Obama administration and members of the Obama reelection campaign will let slip that they are dwelling and worrying over these arguments. They may not agree with them. They may not think they’re fair, or sophisticated, or useful. But they’re thinking about them. And if you’re the “professional left,” that’s exactly what you want.
The Obama White House is a poll-driven universe. Now that liberal dissatisfaction with Pres. Obama has risen so high he’s getting negative numbers in New York, what’s being written on the big movement progressive blogs like Jane Hamsher’s Firedoglake matters.
As for Paul Krugman, he’s hitting the President and his team where they deserve to be eviscerated: economics. This also happens to be where Obama has plummeted the farthest, down to 26%, which is a reelection killer.
Greg Sargent asked the typical Beltway question that also coincides with what Obama fan boys insist is smart: Does Obama camp see upside in pissing off the left? This goes on the theory that Obama can afford to lose his activist base, because rank and file Democrats are still behind Obama, though 72% isn’t something to trumpet, because that number keeps falling.
Over at Digby’s place, part of movement progressive central, David Atkins answers the question about why this thinking is so dangerous for Pres. Obama and his reelection team.
I have crazy Republicans in my own backyard who terrify me, too–and getting rid of them will actually make a more immediate impact in my county, my state, and my personal life. I don’t have to lift a finger to help the President in order to help the Democratic Party, and neither do folks like Marta. I won’t be traveling to Nevada or Arizona for the President’s re-election campaign like I did in 2008. I’ll be sticking in my own California backyard, helping local progressive Democrats win office. People whose positions and negotiation styles I know I can count on. People who can make progressive dreams come true in California, since it has become abundantly clear they will not come true in Washington, D.C. Not even with 60 Democratic Senators and a big majority in the House.
And I know I’m not alone in this. If the Administration wants to take a bet that there aren’t enough people like me and Marta out there to make a difference to their field campaign, they’re free to do so.
But it would be a bad bet.
Whether it’s Perry or Romney, you can bet Republicans will come out in 2012, because there’s nothing they want more than to make Obama a one-term president. In the end they’ll have all hands on deck.
The way things look today, Pres. Obama will not. But not because of some juvenile OFA fan mimicking what Obama’s fans always do, which is to tick off the very people who make the difference in a tough election fight. Obama won’t have many movement progressives on his side, because they’ve finally figured out that there’s very little difference to them and the issues they care about if Pres. Obama is reelected or not.